LAW5436 - International and comparative family law - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Quota applies

The unit can be taken by a maximum of 45 students (due to limited facilities and method of teaching).

Not offered in 2017


For postgraduate Law discontinuation dates, please see

Previously coded as LAW7536


This course begins with comparative approaches to a range of legal traditions in which family law is idiosyncratically situated. Topical issues touching on how domestic law interacts with legal diversity in family law will be canvassed. Particular emphasis will be placed on the interactions between religiously-governed family law and secular state law.

From the comparative law perspective, the course will progress to a consideration of the ways in which Immigration and Refugee Law interacts with domestic family law and family law policy.

The seminar will then progress to an examination of the traditional common law conflict of law principles that touch on family law matters, including jurisdiction and recognition and international enforcement of foreign family law orders. Consideration will then be given to the modification of the common law regime by treaty and legislation, including the various Hague Conventions that apply to family law issues. Further attention will be given to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child as well as other human rights treaties. Each regime will be considered in the context of its impact upon domestic legal issues.

The six main area of family law will be examined through the lenses of comparative and international law, including marriage, divorce, matrimonial property, adoption, custody, and support.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. apply knowledge and understanding of recent developments in international and comparative family law with creativity and initiative to new situations in professional practice and/or further learning;
  2. investigate, analyse and synthesize complex information, problems, concepts and theories in relation to a range of legal traditions within which family law is situated;
  3. conduct research into the impact of both private and public international law on domestic family law issues as well other into other issues of comparative family law, based on knowledge of appropriate research principles and methods; and
  4. use cognitive, technical and creative skills to generate and evaluate complex ideas and concepts relevant to international and comparative family law including an awareness of links to immigration and refugee law, domestic family law and family law policy.


The students will complete four (1,875 words) critical analysis papers. Each paper will be worth 25% of the overall unit grade.

Workload requirements

Students enrolled in this unit will be provided with 24 contact hours of seminars per semester [in Prato they will have 36 contact hours] whether intensive, semi-intensive, or semester-long offering. Students will be expected to do reading set for class, and to undertake additional research and reading applicable to a 6 credit point unit.

Chief examiner(s)